COVID-19 Q&A: No set number of cases to shut down SWOSU again
Updated: Sep 16
With SWOSU returning to in-person classes this semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many changes, new restrictions, procedures, and health measures students need to be aware of. The Southwestern provides an overview.
By Sydnie Balcer
Due to the severity of COVID-19, no one in the world has gone unaffected by it. Upon returning to SWOSU, students can observe many noticeable changes from last spring, such as wearing masks in all indoor spaces and social distancing in all classrooms and service areas. With all of these changes, however, students might be out of the loop and asking lots of questions.
What do I do if I believe I have COVID-19?
SWOSU has created a self-assessment for students to go through daily and before they go out on campus. If they live off-campus and have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, according to the assessment, they are to not go to campus “until at least 10 days after symptoms began and 72 hours after you are free of fever and symptoms of respiratory infection (not allergies or asthma), without the use of fever-reducing medications.” This procedure will apply to students “regardless of whether [they] have tested for COVID-19.”
Where can students and faculty get access to COVID-19 tests?
Currently, the only places in Weatherford, OK, conducting COVID-19 tests are Xpress Wellness Urgent Care and Weatherford Regional Hospital. There are not currently COVID-19 tests available on campus, but if students would like university assistance, they can call Student Health Services and receive help with how to proceed. According to CDC guidelines, anyone who plans to get tested for COVID-19 should call ahead so healthcare providers are aware that they or other patients in the clinic have the potential to be exposed to COVID-19.
What would it take to shut down campus entirely?
According to SWOSU President Randy Beutler, there is “no set number for how many COVID cases it would take to shut down campus entirely, but it is constantly being discussed.” As other universities in the country shut down and cases appear on campuses, many students feel anxious about their time at college, but Beutler wants students to know that he is in constant contact with the director of the Weatherford Hospital about cases in the community.
Who should students contact first if they test positive for COVID-19 off-campus?
Students should first contact their health providers, and then contact the Dean of Students in order to figure out how they will attend their classes and complete their schoolwork for the time they are quarantined. Beutler wants to remind students that SWOSU faculty is strongly being encouraged to be flexible this semester when it comes to attendance and assignments, so students should let faculty know if they are feeling unwell and would not feel safe heading to class.
What is the procedure for contact-tracing, and how will students move forward if they were within six feet of someone who tested positive?
For contact-tracing, SWOSU will work with the County Health Department when notified of cases, and the County Health Department will be in charge of contacting individuals who have been near or come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. There will be variability in the actions that students take depending on things like how close they were to individuals who tested positive and whether or not they were wearing a mask.
Where can I find current information on COVID-19 cases at SWOSU and in the Weatherford community?
For daily updates on COVID-19 in any county in Oklahoma, students and faculty can go to the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website. This is where the most up-to-date information can be found, but SWOSU will be giving weekly announcements with the state of COVID-19 on campus.